Posted by Sara Yagelniski on May 03, 2021

Photo of Grovenland farm apprenticeship

Are you an aspiring farmer looking for a mixed farm with livestock and veggies to gain more skills, knowledge and experience? Well, Grovenland Farm in Saskatchewan is offering an apprenticeship just for you!

Grovenland farm apprenticeship

ABOUT Grovenland Farm

Grovenland is located near Lanigan, Saskatchewan on the edge of Treaty 4 & 6

Three generations farm together at Grovenland Farm. In 2011, Lisa and Ben Martens Bartel moved from Winnipeg to the family farm to begin a new farming story with Ben’s parents, John and Denise Bartel. They all enjoy hosting people on the farm and creating a welcoming place. The people on the farm are LGTBQ2S+ affirming and welcoming.

Grovenland Farm produces grass-finished beef, pastured pork from heritage breed pigs, pastured chickens (both meat birds and egg layers) and a full complement of vegetables.

Their animal grazing rotation is based on Holistic Management practices and on pasture when possible. In the gardens , they make heavy use of mulches, animal waste and compost and  follow organic practices.

Ben and Lisa sell vegetables seasonally at the Lanigan Farmers Market, the Manitou Flea Market and through Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) subscriptions from July to early October for customers in Lanigan, Watrous and Saskatoon. They also sell vegetables and meat through their website , a farmer co-op called The Farmers Table, and a couple of stores including Moose Jaw’s The Wandering Market.


Grovenland farm apprenticeship

About the apprenticeship:
The apprentice will work alongside Ben and Lisa and other seasonal staff. Garden work (planting, weeding, harvesting, packaging, etc) would be the main priority. Secondary work will include animal feeding chores and temporary fencing. The apprentice can be included in other marketing aspects of the farm.

As part of the apprenticeship, you will meet with other apprentices across Saskatchewan who are part of the Young Agrarians Apprenticeship program. Field days, learning opportunities and potlucks will be planned with this group at each host’s farm. 

Grovenland farm apprenticeship

About the farm mentors
Ben and Lisa are the main mentors. Ben is the main farm manager of all operations and loves to talk about farming practices and why they are done a certain way. Lisa’s focus is more on the garden and marketing side of things (and many household and childcare tasks). John focuses on animal management and infrastructure projects. Denise, who also works full time as a nurse, assists with much garden work and childcare.

They have had many volunteers and several staff and are accustomed to training new people. They are always growing and learning in this area because of the many people and activities on the farm and the negotiation of decisions between 4 owners on a multi-generational farm.

Grovenland farm apprenticeship

Skills this farm has to teach: 

The following skills are being offered by this farm. While you’ll get exposure to many of these areas, it is likely that not all will be covered. Apprentices will work to identify the skills they want to develop through a learning plan with the host farm.

Organic Market garden management ROTATIONAL GRAZING
preparing vegetable beds pasture raised chickens
seeding / transplanting pasture raised pigs
weeding / tool care direct marketing
harvesting / washing / packing chicken butchering

Grovenland farm apprenticeship

Skill required of the apprentice
A willingness and ability to do physical labour (ie: lifting buckets of feed). All weather clothing and work clothes are needed. Steel-toed boots are an asset but not required.

Housing, Stipend and Duration
There are 2 camper trailers near the house for summer staff. Each have cold water, and cooking tools. An out house nearby and 24 hour access to a separate full bathroom in the house.

Staff all have access to laundry, wifi, and occasional vehicles if needed. It is preferable if staff can bring their own vehicle and have a place to go on some of their days/weekends off to get a break from the farm.

Typically staff cook their own breakfasts in their campers (from food provided), make their own lunches from the house kitchen and share meals as a family for supper. The cost is $400 for room and board/month. Extra snacks or alcohol are not included.

The apprentice will be paid a stipend of $500-600/week or $13-15/hour less room and board. This apprenticeship will take place from May to early October and will be 5 days/week, typically Monday-Friday. 

Grovenland farm apprenticeship

About the Community and Land
Grovenland Farm is situated between a few small towns in central Saskatchewan. Lanigan is where they pick up mail and groceries. It has all the basic services. Drake is where the kids go to school, the families participate in community events and attends church. It has no services. Manitou Beach is just 25 minutes away and in a summer resort town, with a beach, parks, spa, shops and markets. It has many events and activities, festivals and entertainment planned throughout the summer (although due to Covid – unsure of what will be available in 2021.) The farm is 1.5hrs to Saskatoon. And 2 hours to Regina. The farm hosts a weekly campfire when family members and friends stop in each week.

“We acknowledge that our history on this land (at the border of Treaty 4 & 6) is very short and those who have long history here (our indigenous neighbours) are not present in our communities any longer. We know that many injustices have taken place but admit that the lack of current relationship with our indigenous neighbours makes reconciliation a difficult and unknown proposal.”
-Ben and Lisa

The closest First Nation communities are: Day Star First Nation, Kawacatoose First Nation, Gordon First Nation, and Muskowekwan First Nation. The farm is on the boarder Treaty 4 & 6 territory and the traditional and ancestral lands of many cultures, languages and First Nations people including Nehiyaw (Cree), Dakota, Dene (Chipewyan), Nakota (Assiniboine) and Saulteaux. These communities have a deep relationship with this land based on, among other things, a spiritual connection and subsistence extending back thousands of years.

Young Agrarians recognizes the unresolved Indigenous land title and rights in the diverse territories in what is today called Canada. As we live and work in the context of and in response to a colonial system of laws and policies, it is important to acknowledge the historical and ongoing impact of agriculture and land enclosure on Indigenous lands and food systems. In this context, we acknowledge our collective responsibility to position Indigenous Peoples and their experiences with coloniality, in a narrative of reconciliation that places ecology, land stewardship, and Indigenous land title and rights at the forefront – if we are to sustain the Earth’s ecosystems in today’s rapidly changing climate.

Our deepest hope is that the future of our food systems is diverse, interconnected, and resilient, embraces people of all walks of life and sustains the water, plants, and creatures in ways that benefit and work alongside Indigenous Peoples and narratives and ways of knowing and caring for the land.

This farm, like many others, is surrounded by agricultural cultivated land, uncultivated land, Indigenous people and voices from non-settler walks of life. We encourage everyone to build relationship with the land and community that surrounds the place where you will be learning.

More Details about this Apprenticeship and How to Apply 

Deadline EXTENDED – MARCH 31, 2021

Contact Sara (program coordinator) for questions: saskatchewan@youngagrarians.org

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